Thursday, September 22, 2016

- Dear Lester Holt

Lester,

I’m sure you can appreciate the fix you’re in. You can either maintain the credibility of your bosses and the people in your industry who can most help your career, or you can maintain the credibility of the American people who watch your broadcast. I think few envy you, but it’s as much an opportunity as a risk.

Your bosses have probably made their opinion on the topic very clear, but used all the wrong words to describe it. When they said ‘objectivity’ they meant it the way the New York Times means it – you should do all you can to make Trump look stupid and make sure Hillary doesn’t. But I think that’s a more dangerous position for you to take for the sake of your career.

Your bosses believe that if you control the narrative, you control the minds of the people. How has that worked out for the others in this election cycle who have held that opinion? For all the abuse that Matt Lauer took for the last ‘debate’ from your media peers, did his career suffer for it? Are there mountains of hate mail sitting outside his dressing room door every morning? I don’t think so.

You obviously know your business better than I do, but I’ll tell you something I learned after decades in a business that runs on credibility. All credibility is personal. If your bosses have read this wrong and they persuade you to take their view, you personally will be the one who pays the price. You could be viewed for decades as an irrelevant hack, propped up by powerful media executives to shill for them regardless of the truth. But you don't have to go that way.

I think the approach you should take is not to find the middle ground between Hillary’s position, and what you think the right should be saying, but between his position and hers. His position may be outside the lines for the NY Media, but it most certainly is not for a very large number of Americans. The Overton window has shifted, and real fairness would recognize that.

I’m not advocating that you take Trump’s side, only that you recognize that he has a legitimate viewpoint that is at least as worthy of your respect as Hillary’s. His take may inspire strong emotions among leftists, but it is none the less supported by a great many facts. And you have to remember, there is EVERY possibility that he actually wins. If you bash him for the sake of your bosses and peers, and he feels you’ve been unfair in your handling of the debate, what kind of access will you get? But if you approach it by trying to split the difference between his position and Hillary’s I’m sure it will be better for you in the long run.

It’s not unreasonable to believe that “Black Lives Matter” is based on fiction. It’s not ridiculous to limit immigration, or to make our immigration policies a reflection of what the American citizens want. It isn’t racist and Xenophobic to want the American government to serve the American people rather than the interest of those multi-national corporations who can afford to lobby for the free movement of people and a borderless world. It isn't a hatred of Islam to take a reasonable and thoughtful view of the difference between the Muslim world and the west, and to let our policies reflect that.

You don’t need to agree with we supporters of Trump, you just need to acknowledge that we have a legitimate view. Please don’t let us down. If you can manage fairness, then the American people can make the choice. It's not on you to do that for them, even if your bosses and the Democrats would prefer you do so.

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